Norwegian Tamils march for peace

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 October 2005, 19:41 GMT]
More than one thousand Norwegian Tamils participated in a march carrying torches in the Norwegian capital Oslo Thursday evening. The demonstration, organised by a task group of ten Norwegian Tamil organisations and held in "Pongu Thamil" fashion, urged Norway to promote neutrality in the Sri Lankan peace process that has attracted the attention and involvement of several members of the International community.

Tamils march in Oslo
Tamils march in Oslo
Oslo Town Council member of Red Election Alliance (RV) Ms. Liv Gulbrandsen
Tamils march in Oslo
Reza Reziee, the International Committee leader of the Socialist Leftist party
Tamils demonstrate in Oslo
Sivagama Kriyaratna Krishna Pangusa Kurukkal of Oslo Hindu Temple
Tamils demonstrate in Oslo
Rev. Fr. A.C. Inpanathan
Tamils march in Oslo
S. V. Kirubaharan, General Secretary of Tamil Centre for Human Rights
Tamils march in Oslo
Deidre McConnell, addressing the rally
The demonstrators attended a rally in front of the Central Station in Oslo at 6:00 p.m. and marched towards the Norwegian Stortinget around 7:30 and concluded the march at the Stortinget around 8:00 p.m.

The marchers carried placards urging the International Community and the European Union to excercise neutrality.

The Hindu Priest of the Sivasubrmanya Temple in Oslo, Sivagama Kriyaratna Krishna Pangusa Kurukkal, and Oslo Tamil Catholic parish priest Rev. Fr. A.C. Inpanathan addressed the rally.

Rev. Inpanathan in his address said: "Even after tsunami the Sinhala polity failed to allow humanitarian and reconstruction effort in the NorthEast by derailing the Joint mechanism. The world is now a witness to the extremism exhibited by Buddhist Chauvinism."

Constitution of Sri Lanka has been systematically used as an instrument of oppression, he said.

"We are afraid that the recent EU Declaration will serve as an impediment to the peace process," Fr. Inpanathan said.

Ms. Deirdre McConnell, a UK based human rights activist involved in Tamil affairs and Mr. S. V. Kirubakaran from the Tamil Center for Human Rights (TCHR) spoke at the rally.

McConnell, attending the rally said: "The Norwegians have a reputation for their neutrality and fairness. They have already done tremendous amount of work, and the responsiblity rests on the Norwegians to take up this important matter and lead the rest of the International Community," she said adding that the Norwegians are well placed to give the unbiased version of the ground reality to those "who need to hear" in the International Community.

"Equality between the parties to the conflict is the key to a peaceful resolution of the conflict," McConnell observed and said that the International Community has the responsibility to do their upmost for the peace and overcome the obstacles.

Oslo Town Council member of Red Election Alliance (RV) Ms. Liv Gulbrandsen, and Reza Reziee, the International Committee leader of the Socialist Leftist party also spoke at the rally supporting the demand for a just peace. Addressing the rally, the speakers observed that the friendly atmosphere emerging between the peoples in Sri Lanka is hampered by the destructive power-politics in the South.

At the end of the rally, around 1500 participants marched towards the Norwegian Assembly, the Stortinget, with torch lights in a rainy weather and handed over an appeal addressed to the Norwegian Prime Minister Mr. Jens Stoltenberg to Mr. Jan Bøhler, the leader of Labour Party in Oslo.

An NTF representative and Oslo Town Council member of Labour Party, Mr. Yogarajah Balasingham, a Tamil, read out the appeal by NTF outside the Norwegian assembly.

A copy of the appeal was also handed over to Ms. Ågot Valla, a representative of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Norwegian Assembly.

Tamils demonstrate in Oslo
L-R: Oslo Labour Party Leader, Mr. Jan Bøhler, Ms. Ågot Valla, a representative of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Mr. Yogarajah Balasingham
Tamils demonstrate in Oslo
Tamils march in Oslo
Tamils march in Oslo
Participants in the march


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